20 Christmas Card Ideas


20chritamas_card_ideaslet it snow

For the past few years one of my all time favorite holiday family photo sessions has been trending on Pinterest.  It has inspired many a Christmas Card Photo Idea.  I have received many an email about how I captured the “perfect snow image.”  I thought I’d reveal the step by step process here on my own website!

Step 1) Styling.   Coordinate—but don’t be matchy/matchy &  Accessorize!

If you’re shooting with a group, make sure your outfits complement one another’s. Choose a consistent color palette (which does not mean the same color).  Scarves, hats, bows, bands…it all adds a fun twist to an otherwise “standard” look. Accessories are also a great place to coordinate looks.  In this example, brother is wearing a bold pattern with blue, white and gray, and the girls are rocking  gray hat/headband.I was lucky to work with a family that ROCKS when it comes to styling.  But I always share these tips with clients, and even text outfit ideas back and forth to ensure a coordinate look.

Step 2) Choose the Right Backdrop

The snow (or confetti, or glitter, etc) can be tricky to pick up against some backgrounds.  Here it works because the Christmas tree is first appropriate stylistically, but also because it’s dark color highlights the flakes.  Avoid lighter backgrounds, and backlighting for the perfect snow shot.

Step 3) Take a Before Shot.

What really makes this shot is the Before and After.  First we filled the kids hands with “snow” and then told them to pretend to blow.  This made for cute expressions, and focus on those fantastic baby blues they all have.

Step 4) The Action Shot

We instructed the kids to “blow slowly”.  One big gust and you’ll miss your shot.  With them blowing continuously I fired away.  It’s important to shoot in rapid succession, because there are so many micro-expressions going on here, you really don’t want to miss the perfect one.

Step 5) Clean Up

The snow used in this shot was the synthetic plastic kind you buy at Target during the holidays.  We gathered up all the pieces afterward as best we could.  Having a solid surface, like concrete under your subjects will help in clean up a lot.  I have since been using the blanket i bring as a tarp to catch all the “snow.”

My good friend Erin used the photos from this session in a fantastic Christmas Card that she designed.  If your looking for an original and beautiful Christmas Card idea, check her out at Bringing Up Burns.

Here is my contribution to the Christmas Card Ideas to inspire you:

1) Let it Snow.  Perfect for this snow shot.  The “Let it Snow” idea is great for a winter family photo.

let is snow card



2) All You Need is Love.  Get up close and personal, let the warm fuzzy feelings spark family hugs and kisses.

all you need is love

3) Best Gift Ever!  This Christmas Card Idea is perfect for a new baby, or even a wedding photo.

best gift ever

4) Blessings.  This Holiday Card Idea greeting works for nearly any special holiday or family photo.  But, I love it especially for this extended family photo, grandparents smothered in grandchildren.

blessings 5) Joy!  and all of its derivatives, is another holiday card idea just bursting with possibilities.  This caption could easily be “Jumping for Joy.”  Have fun with your holiday family photos and let the JOY flow freely.  Your happy smiles will be perfect to spread the JOY of the holidays. christmas card idea joy

6) Classic Merry Christmas.  You can’t go wrong with the classic “Merry Christmas” holiday card idea.  Here, the perfect family photo is framed with a beautiful, ornate frame and banner.

classic merry christmas

7) Classic Merry Christmas with a Twist.  For our card last year, we kept the Christmas greeting simple.  But added the twist of the gold foil trend.  Also trending lately, is the greeting directly on the photo.  If this is a look you’re wanting, make sure to let your photographer know, so she can provide enough space to add text to your Christmas Card photo.

gold foil


8) Welcome Christmas.  This is one of my all time favorite Christmas Card Ideas.  In 2009, I was really into watching the holiday classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”  My favoite scene is where the Whos join hands and Welcome Christmas in song.  That concept, and this photo by the very talented Jonathan Canlas, brought this Christmas Card Idea to life.  “Christmas day is in our grasp, as long as we have hands to clasp.” Dr. Seuss really said it all!

hand in hand

9) Have a Holly Jolly Christmas.  This is such a great greeting for your Christmas Card.  And a happy smiling family photo is the perfect compliment. These cute girls and their parent just screamed, “Holly Jolly.”

holly jolly

10) Joy to the World.  Sometimes babies aren’t cooperating, and 2 year olds aren’t looking in the camera.  But you know what, that’s life!  This family photo is perfect just the way it is. The best portraits are those with personality, and here this family’s personality is on full display.  www.thealbumcafe.com


11) Laughing all the Way.  Get the family close together and laugh and play for this Christmas Card Idea.  These smiles are the perfect holiday greeting.

Laughing all the way
12) May Your Days be Merry and Bright.  These sundrenched portraits were perfect for the bright and merry season.

merry and bright

13) Happy Holidays from the Bottom of Our Mistletoes.  This photo is from one of my very first family photo shoots.  I love the dog pile we had going on in this chair.  The focus on the toes makes it perfect for this Christmas Card Idea.  You could use your family’s sandy toes at the beach, or your newborn baby’s toes, the possibiliites are endless.  mistletoes 14) Who’s been Naughty or Nice?  When you have a cranky baby, don’t fight it.  Embrace the moment and you could end up with the perfect Christmas Card.  I’ve seen the naughty and nice Christmas Card Idea used with kissing couples, silly kids, and crying babies like this one.

naughty and nice

15) Oh Christmas Tree.  We take a jammie photo in front of the tree every Christmas Eve.  I like the idea of sharing our photo on a Christmas Card,  This could also work at the Christmas tree lot, when your decorating your tree, or visiting a special Christmas tree (think Time Square)

oh christmas tree

16) Oh What Fun.  I love the idea of a collage to capture what a wonderful year you’ve had.  This Christmas card captures special moments from and extended family photo shoot.

www.thealbumcafe.com 17) Peace on Earth. This family  silhouette portrait is a great photo for this Christmas Card Idea.  The serene setting and beautiful sunset capture gratitude for the Earth and your family.

peace on earth

18) Dear Santa, Is it too late to be good?  This shot is a personal and family favorite  It is from one of my very first family photo shoots.  I love when kids are perfect at a photo shoot, but I also love to capture these real moments between siblings.  This sweet girl was perfect for this family photo shoot, so when she stuck out her tongue it was a funny and cute slice of her personality.  This type of silly shot works great for this Santa themed Christmas Card Idea.

santa card

19) Warm Wishes.  Do you like warm hugs?  Of course, we all do.  That’s what’s so adorable about this family Christmas Card Idea.

warm wishes

20) We Wish you a Merry Christmas.  Another classic.  This Chrsitmas Card theme works for nearly any family photos.  Another idea would be to just use “And a Happy New Year” and send your cards out after Christmas.  we wish you a merry christmasThis particular card also served to announce that we were expecting our 5th baby.

5x7 BackBut that’s a totally different post.  Happy holiday season, and enjoy the inspiration for your Christmas Cards.

With a very full fall schedule, I am offering 1 day of Mini Sessions.  December 6th, 2014.  The turn around time will be one week, so you will still have time to get some last minute holiday cards in the mail.  Each session includes 20 minutes of shooting time, and 10-15 images in an online gallery.   Contact me soon to take advantage of this last minute deal!



family mini sessions

 What is a Mini Session?

Mini sessions are a scaled down version of our regular photo sessions.  They last approx. 15-20 minutes and do not include an outfit change.  We provide a fixed date and location.   Finished images (approximately 10-15 total) are provided online afterwards for downloading, printing, and sharing with family and friends.

Spaces are limited and will be available on a first come first serve basis.



Tips for Planning What to Wear for Family Pictures

wear family pictures

it’s one of the most commonly asked questions, “what should we wear for family portraits?”  well, let me walk you through the process I went through last year.  this session was for an extended family shoot, primarily 9 cousins.  here’s where it all began.  first, I found this blanket, and it screamed, “BEACH PORTRAITS” to me. so i set out deciding what we would wear.  which leads me to step1) follow your inspiration.

what to wear family picturesnext, I texted my sister in law with a photo of the above color scheme and said, “here’s what we’re wearing.”  she responded, “i can work with that.”  which is step 2) coordinate, don’t match.  this can be a hard skill to master, but the essence is: pick your anchor piece/color and build around it with complimentary colors.  here, the blanket served as my anchor, so everyone was in blue tones, and some bought in a pop of pink.  my nieces and nephews did the same, and I think you’ll agree the results were splendidly cute!

step 3) have fun and let the kids light up the photos.  the beach is a fantastic place to capture children in element.  you can see that our posed shots didn’t get all the smiles we were looking for.  but, when we let the kids play and have fun (within the framework of the poses we wanted) we got all the great expressions that we see everyday.  a perfect preservation of these sweet cousins!
extended family what to wear family pictures girls lifeguard tower

what to wear family pictures kidsstep 4) get those Christmas cards made.  i knew  we would be using this portraits on our Christmas card, and had the whole design worked out in my mind before the session.  my mom had an idea for her card too, but changed it up when she saw these portraits, and I made a design that incorporated them both.

1costco www.thealbumcafe.com

step 5) don’t stress.  too often people overthink their family portraits, and stress out.  this leads to a frustrating session with one or more family members irritated.  I am a certified mediator, but really it would make the whole thing easier if you took a deep breath and had some fun.  hire a photographer you can trust to make you look fabulous and capture the vision of your family portraits!

Happy Mother’s Day! – Sabbath Inspiration


my best friend’s baby – newborn portrait

while i love photographing newborn babies, i have never been a “birth photographer.”  nor, did i ever consider it an interest.  i didn’t even have a photographer for any of my children’s births.  but the circumstances of my best friends newest arrival made me reconsider.

upon the call that the baby was coming, i grabbed the girls out of school, and headed straight to California, hoping to offer some love and hugs before the birth and be among the first to meet the baby.  when i pulled into my parents, the baby wasn’t yet born, so i eagerly sped to the hospital.  to my surprise, my best friend and i were both totally cool with me staying in the room for the pending birth, something neither one of us had considered an option before.  during the course of this sweet experience, i did not think or even offer to pull out the camera, but it did open my mind to the idea for sometime in the future.

mom and dad were whisked off to the operating room for an unplanned c-section, and finally Nash was born.  this is why i brought my camera!  what a sweet little boy!

so, am i thinking of adding “birth photography” to the repertoire?  i don’t know, but i’m more open to it after such a sweet experience.


inspiration for your sabbath – happy Easter

in our family, we are happy to know the focus of Easter is the Savior Jesus Christ.  it is such a glorious time to reflect on not only the perfect example of his life, but on the simple truth that “HE LIVES.”easter-printable-ldsquote

TBT – my most embarrassing moment

whenever i’ve played that game, “what’s your most embarrassing moment?” i’m always at a loss.  it’s not that i haven’t been embarrassed, i have.  it’s just that i don’t tend to dwell, and so when put on the spot i just have nothing to say.  but, laying here for two days has given me a lot of time to dwell.  out of the blue i had a memory of possibly the most embarrassing moment of my life.

a few years ago, in Costco, i kept seeing this poor guy, maybe 19/20 years old, disheveled, dirty, muttering, going around countless times to the sample tables.  my heart was filled with sympathy for him, i wanted to help.  clearly, this guys was homeless.  clearly, he was hungry.  my mind was racing for a way to help.  could i buy him some groceries?  (come on Britain, he’s clearly homeless.)  should i give him money? (no cash on me)  i know, hot dogs!

i approached the homeless guy, and invited him to sit down with me for a hot dog after i checked out.  it took a little explaining, “i’m going to eat lunch here after i check out, would you like to have a hot dog, my treat?”  blank stare.  “i’ve been watching you eat samples, would you like a hot dog?”  blank stare.  “i’d love to buy you lunch.”  homeless guy, “you want to have lunch with me?”  me, “yes, yes, i would love to have lunch with you.  “oh, i would like that, but my mom and sister should be here really soon to pick me up.”  pulls out cell phone.  “yeah, they should be here any minute.  but, i’d love to get lunch another time.  can i get your number?”

so, this guys is not homeless.  and i just basically asked him out on a date.  i’m a little flabbergasted.  i don’t know what to do.  so, my old college impulses kick in and i give him a fake name and fake number.  he dials it into his phone and heads off to meet his mom and sister.

i’m humiliated.  i guess it may not be embarrassing in a typical way, because i was pretty much the only one who knew what was going on, but i was dying!  i checked out, got into the privacy of my own car, and proceeded to call Jason and tell him about how i just stalked and hit on a young man at Costco.  through his laughter, he asked if it ever occurred to me that not many homeless people have Costco memberships.  no, no it didn’t.

so, i’ve seen this kid around since then.  he is not an independent guy.  my observation is that his mom and sister care for him, and give him little independent outings all over town, like Home Depot, Wal-Mart, etc. every time i see him in a store, i feel the need to ditch behind the aisle and wait for him to pass just like i might have done in college when i gave out a fake number.  i’m not even sure he would remember.

i think if i could go back in a time machine and do it all over, i would not give the fake name and number, but would maturely say something…..i don’t even know.

how do you handle a situation like this one?

homeless-dad-arrested-developmentthis embarrassing moment reminds me of Lindsay Funke’s run in with a guy who “had the lean look, effortless hair and dressed down manner of a movie star”, but was really homeless.  But really, he was a movie star.  (Arrested Development, The One Where They Build a House.)

who am i, and why am i blogging?

why-im-bloggingin general, i am a pretty confident person.  i know exactly what i want and where i’m going, and for the most part, i am happy.  but when it comes to blogging, i all of a sudden feel my confidence wane.  why are you blogging?  what’s your blog about?  these are questions that i sometimes feel i can’t answer, especially when i consider the time it takes away from my “real life.”is it a waste?

today, i find myself with time on my hands as i am resting from an injection of steroids into my spine.  i’m not allowed to move today.  in fact, i’m not supposed to do much of anything for the next week or so.  it’s funny really, as i have talked to other people who’ve had injections like this, they each have said, “i didn’t have to be down that long.”  so when i asked the Dr. about it he said, “yeah, that’s for people who just go to a normal job, since you have a baby and a 2 year old, we don’t want you going back to your normal activity for a week or so.”

my normal?  it makes me feel so peculiar.  but, in a weird way, that’s the answer to the question of why i started a blog.  my normal activity is pretty intense, 5 kids, busy activities, huge housekeeping responsibilities, a part time photography business, so many people to think of and look after, i just decided i wanted an outlet that was purely me.

so, what will this blog be about?  i’m not that sure right now.  i think it’s going to be pretty “stream of conscious” for the time being.  this is intentional.   i am  intentionally not carefully curating the content to appeal to a particular audience, or showcase my talent, or increase traffic for my photography, etc.  it is about sharing what’s important to me, so that includes family, meals, photography, faith, art, clothes, education….the list goes on and on.  for now, i’m comfortable with an online space that’s just about the things i like.

if i spend a year blogging out my projects, travels, and feelings, i will feel the goal for this blog is achieved.  if i make some new friends along the way, all the better.


inspiration for your sabbath





childrens photography at the beach


we are starting to feel warmer temps here in AZ, which is making me miss the beach, which is making me realize i never posted these photos from Avery’s 5th birthday photo shoot.  Avery was lucky to spend her birthday on the beach with siblings and cousins.  i knew i would shoot her birthday pics here and brought this dress.  then my mom bought the girls these floral wreaths and a special portrait was made.  i don’t think i will ever look at these photos without remembering all the fabulous times we had during fall break!  not the least of these memories was celebrating a milestone birthday with this little lovely.  i can’t believe she is 5!kids beach photosbeach portraits are among my favorite for children.  the beach gives kids such a natural opportunity for play and exploration.  i feel like you can just see the wonder and vibrancy of childhood in beach portraits.